Griffin: No reason for Pistons to miss playoffs again

Blake Griffin exploded for 50 points as the Pistons edged the Sixers in an OT thriller.

Blake Griffin is entering his first full season with the Detroit Pistons and he thinks it should result in good things.

“Our expectations should be high,” he said. “In the East, with our roster, I don’t see why getting home court in the playoffs is not a reasonable expectation.”

When healthy, Griffin remains among the league’s most elite power forwards. He is paired in the frontcourt with center Andre Drummond, a space-filling and rebounding machine. The Pistons are big in a league that’s gone small.

They also have a new coach in Dwane Casey, who was fired after leading the Toronto Raptors to the best record in the Eastern Conference last season. He had also taken the Raptors to the East finals during his run with the team. But he could never get them past the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Casey replaces Stan Van Gundy in Detroit and is considered more of a laid-back, players-coach. The Pistons are banking on that being the approach they need.

“The roles that Stan gave guys may not have been the best to put them in a good situation,” Drummond said. “I love Stan, wish him the best with whatever he does next. He’s been a great coach for us, obviously didn’t pan out, but loved playing for him. Obviously, we’ve got to move forward now and I look forward to the new coach that I have now.”

The Pistons finished 39-43 last season, four games behind the Washington Wizards, who landed the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Along with Griffin and Drummond, they will be relying on a return to health from starting point guard Reggie Jackson, as well as determined small forward Stanley Johnson and several others.

All of it has the Pistons thinking a return to the postseason is in the cards. No less than Griffn will tell you so.